Blues Jam / James Wheeler • Ariyo • Harlan Terson • Tony Mangiullo
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21 & over
James Wheeler was born in Albany, Georgia on August 28, 1937. His favorite music as a youth was the big band sounds popular in the day. Folks like Joe Stafford, Glenn Miller and Duke Ellington. "That was the sound that I had to listen to. Louis Jordan was my main man".
Nineteen years old, James headed north to join his older brother Golden Wheeler in Chicago. Golden had come to Chicago a decade earlier and was playing with Waiter Smith, Donald Griffin and Johnny Swan at the time, and occasionally jamming with Eddie King and harp player Willie Black. James eventually picked up an old Harmony acoustic guitar with a pick-up in it. By the early 1960s Wheeler was jamming regularly on the West Side and landed a steady gig with Billy Boy Arnold. In 1963 Wheeler formed his own band. The Jaguars consisted of Wheeler on guitar, bass player/vocalist Johnny Howard and drummer Sam Burden. During the next ten years, Wheeler played behind blues greats like McKinley Mitchell, B.B. King, Millie Jackson, Otis Clay and O.V. Wright.
After The Jaguars broke up in 1972, Wheeler was enlisted to form Otis Clay's touring band, the OCB's. He stayed with Clay for the next three years and in 1975 went on tour with the Impressions. For the next decade Wheeler worked with guitarist Buddy Scott, Otis Rush and join the band Mississippi Heat and made three records with them. Later Wheeler has done a stint with Magic Slim and worked Willie Kent's band...